Authorised form of nameDesaguliers; John Theophilus (1683 - 1744); natural philosopher
Dates1683 - 1744
Place of birthLa Rochelle, France
Date of birth10 or 13 March 1683
Place of deathHis lodgings at the Bedford Coffee House, Covent Garden
Date of death29 February 1744
Dates and placesBurial:
The Savoy Chapel, Strand, Westminster
OccupationClergyman, Church of England; Natural Philosopher and Engineer
Research fieldExperimental natural philosophy
Christ Church, Oxford); Hart Hall, Oxford. BA (1709), MA (1712), DCL (1719). Incorporated LLD at Cambridge (1726)
Brought to England by his parents after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, he was rumoured to have been smuggled on board ship in a barrel (1685); Assistant in his father's school at Islington, Middlesex; ordained deacon (1710); Lecturer on Experimental Philosophy at Hart Hall (1710); Demonstrator and Curator to the Royal Society (1714); Chaplain to James Brydges, Duke of Chandos (FRS 1694) (1714); Rector of Little Stanmore, Middlesex (1715-1744); Rector of Bridgham, Norfolk (1717-1726); Chaplain to Frederick, Prince of Wales (c1717); Rector of Little Warley, Essex (1727-1744); lectured and performed experiments before a wide audience at his London house and later in Holland (1730), where he drew the interest of Herman Boerhaave (FRS 1730)
Freemason, Member, Lodge no 3 at Horn Tavern Westminster, London, subsequently Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge No 4; Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge, nicknamed the 'Moderns' 1719;
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election29/07/1714
ProposerSir Hans Sloane
Sir Isaac Newton
Royal Society activityMedals and prizes:
Copley Medal 1734, 1736 and 1741
RelationshipsSon of John Desaguliers, protestant pastor, of Aitre, France, and later Minister of the French Chapel, Swallow Street, London; married Joanna Pudsey
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB; Venn; Foster
Henry Guerlac, 'Newton's Optical Aether: his Draft of a Proposed Addition to his Opticks' in NR 1967 vol 22 pp 45-57
J A Lohne, 'Experimentum Crucis' in NR 1968 vol 23 pp 169-199
Stephen F Mason, 'The Spring-Tide of Experimental Philosophy', review of Marie Boas Hall, Promoting Experimental Learning: Experiment and the Royal Society, 1660-1727 in NR 1992 vol 46 pp 313-316
Alan Q Morton, 'Previous Public Perceptions of Science', review of Larry Stewart, The Rise of Public Science: Rhetoric, Technology and Natural Philosophy in Newtonian Britain, 1660-1750 and Jan Golinski, Science as Public Culture: Chemistry and Enlightenment in Britain, 1760-1820 in NR 1994 vol 48 pp 157-159
John H Appleby, 'Human Curiosities and the Royal Society, 1699-1751' in NR 1996 vol 50 pp 13-27
Marta Cavazza, 'The Institute of Science of Bologna and the Royal Society in the eighteenth century' in NR 2002 vol 56 pp 3-25, plate
'Gentleman's Magazine' 1744, p168
P Fontes da Costa, 'The Culture of Curiosity at The Royal Society in the first half of the eighteenth century', NR 2002 vo l56 pp 147-166
J P Zinsser, 'The ultimate commentary: a consideration of I Bernhard Cohen's Guide to Newton's Principia' in NR 2003 vol 57 pp 231-238
The Library and Museum of Freemasonry 'Freemasons and the Royal Society; Alphabetical List of Fellows of the Royal Society who were Freemasons' 2010, page 26
DSB provides birth and death dates, 12 March 1683 and 10 March 1744 respectively. Venn gives death date as 29 February 1744
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA8419
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
IM/005303Desaguliers, John Theophilus1989/90
CLP/18ii/34Some thoughts concerning electricity by J T Desaguliers3 June 1731
EL/H4/33J Higgs to Rev Desaguliers1734
CLP/18ii/41Account of some magnetical experiments by J T Desaguliersnd
EL/S2/56Letter from Raphael Sedgwick communicated to the Royal Society by Dr Desaguliers19 March 1724
RBO/17/25'Account of some magnetical Experiments' by John Theophilus Desaguliers1732
RBO/11/67'An account of an Optical Experiment' by John Desaguliers1722
RBO/13/28An account of an experiment to show a syphon running in vacuo by J Desaguliers 1728
RBO/12/73'Remarks on the Invention of Telescopes' by Dr Desaguliers1726
RBO/11/79'A magnetical Experiment made by Mr William Palmer a Mechnick near York communicated by J Desaguliers'25 February 1723
CLP/18ii/37Description of a planetarium by J T Desaguliersnd
RBO/14/45'Giving some Account of a french Paper relating to the Application of the Doctrine of Proportions to negative Quantities etc' in a letter from the Reverend Desaguliers to William Rutty1728
RBO/11/96'Account of the Appearance of the Matter of the Small Pox seen thro' a Microscope' by J Desaguliers13 June 1723
CLP/18ii/24Observations of optical experiments by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/43Further discussion of the appearance of the horizontal moon by J T Desaguliersnd
MM/20/36Letter from Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr to Cromwell Mortimer, Secretary, Royal Society27 December 1740
RBO/11/41'Mercury in the Barometer' by J Desaguliers1721
CLP/18ii/8Details of some new magnetical experiments by J T Desaguliersnd
RBO/12/16'An Experiment to illustrate what has been said in the Philosophical Transactions no 386, 387, 388 concerning the Figure of the Earth' by J Desaguliers1725
CLP/18ii/18Experiment to demonstrate the figure of the Earth as discussed in 'Philosophical Transactions', nos 386, 387 and 388 by J T Desaguliersnd
RBO/19/42'An Account of some new Statical Experiments' by Dr Desaguliers1735
CLP/18ii/30Observations and experiments relating to friction by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/48Account of some new statical experiments by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/12Experiments to show the force of moving bodies by J T Desaguliersnd
RBO/12/17Some experiments concerning the cohesion of two balls of lead by J Desaguliers1725
CLP/18ii/15Attempt to explain the rise and fall of the water near the sea or tidal rivers by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/22Account of an experiment showing a syphon running in vacuo by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/46New experiments with ice taken from Abbe Noler at Paris and communicated by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/14Account of the appearance of smallpox seen through the microscope by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/17/75Summary of experiments carried out by J Desaguliers from November 1729 to November 1730nd
CLP/18ii/13Account of optical experiment by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/7Account of some of Isaac Newton's experiments showing the properties of light and colour by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/6/64Paper, 'A description of an engine to raise water by the help of quicksilver, invented by the late Mr Joshua Haskins; and made practicable and usefull' by J T [John Theophilus] Desaguliers19 April 1722
CLP/18ii/25Account of some electrical experiments by J T Desaguliersnd
RBO/12/33'Account of Several Experiments concerning the running of Water in Pipes, as it is retarded by Friction and intermix'd Air some of which were made before the Royal Society on Thursday the 5th of May 1726 With a Description of a new Machine, whereby Pipes may be clear'd of Air, as the Water runs along without Stand Pipes or the help of any hand' by John Desaguliers1726
LBO/18/76Copy letter from John Theophilus Desaguliers 29 April 1735
LBO/20/13Copy abstract of a letter from Doctor Muschenbrock, Utrecht, to John Theophilus Desaguliers 15 January 1732/1733
LBO/21/50Copy letter from Mr Friewald, Stockhlom, to John Theophilus Desaguliers1 November 1732
CLP/7ii/4Paper, 'A dissertation concerning the figure of the Earth' by J T [John Theophilus] Desaguliers1724
NLB/60/654Copy letter from William Bate Hardy, Secretary of the Royal Society; to J. D. Milner Esquire; National Portrait Gallery, St. Martin's Place, Charing Cross, W.C.10 March 1921
CLP/4i/66Paper, 'An account of an aurora borealis' by J [John] Desaguliers1723
L&P/1/33Paper, 'Some further observations concerning electricity' by John Theophilus Desaguliers10 December 1741
L&P/1/228Letter, 'A request for an imprimatur for the second volume of his course of experimental philosophy' from John Theophilus Desaguliers to the Royal Society1743
CLP/18iiVolume 18ii of classified papers, 'Desaguliers papers'1714-1737
CLP/18ii/40Description of an invention to confine steam when boiling liquids by J T Desaguliers, Daniel Nible, and William Ureamnd
L&P/1/108Paper, 'Conjectures concerning electricity and the rise of vapours' by John Theophilis Desaguliers[1742]
CLP/18ii/42Attempt to explain the phenomenon of the horizontal moon appearing bigger than when elevated many degrees above the horizon by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/21Account of a machine for measuring the depth of the sea by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/31Experiment to show that the friction of the several parts in a compound engine can be reduced to calculation by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/2/18Paper, 'Concerning the invention of telescopes' by J T [John Theophilus] Desaguliers[1726]
CLP/7ii/5Paper, 'A dissertation concerning the figure of the Earth. Part the second' by J T [John Theophilus] Desaguliers1725
CLP/3ii/14/1Manuscript, 'Remarks on some attempts made towards a perpetual motion' by Dr [John Theophilus] Desaguliers[1721]
CLP/18ii/35Account of an experiment contrived by Dr Gravesande, Professor at Leyden, relating to the force of moving bodies now to be shown to the Royal Society by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/3ii/14Paper, 'Remarks on some attempts made towards a perpetual motion' by Dr [John Theophilus] Desaguliers[1721]
CLP/18ii/45Account of some magnetical experiments by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/11Experiments to show the force of moving bodies is proportional to their velocities by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/9Experiment to show that bodies of the same weight do not contain equal quantities of matter which gives interspersed vacuum by J T Desaguliersnd
RBO/12/18'Dissertation concerning the Figure of the Earth Part 2' by J Desaguliers1725
CLP/18ii/44Experiment to show that some damps in mines might be occasioned only by the burning of candles underground without the addition of any noxious vapour, even when the bottom of the pit has a communication with the outward air, unless the outward air be forcibly driven in at the said pipe by J T Desaguliersnd
EL/C2/88A proposal to make anatomies of human bodies in coloured wax by A Chovet1732
EL/D2/75John Desaguliers, dated at Kew, to Cromwell Mortimer13 December 1737
EL/D2/72An account of different instruments presented to the Royal Society by John DesaguliersOctober 1733 to October 1734
RBO/12/8'Dissertation concerning the figure of the Earth' by J Desaguliers1724
CLP/18ii/19Account of several experiments concerning the running of water in pipes by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/32Account of two experiments showing friction of pullies by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/36Account of an instrument contrived by J T Desaguliers to show the different velocities of a planet or comet in its motion round the sun nd
CLP/18ii/27Proposition on the balance not taken notice of by mechanical writers explained and confirmed by an experiment before the Royal Society by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/28Observations of a crane with improvements on the machine by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/16Details of a new contrivance for taking levels by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/9ii/17Paper, 'A magnetical experiment' by William Palmer25 February 1723
CLP/18ii/17Experiments concerning the cohesion of lead balls by J T Desaguliers29 April 1725
CLP/18ii/29Examination of Perault's axis 'in peritrochio' said to be void of friction by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/9ii/29Extract, 'From the Journal Books of the Royal Society concerning magnets having more poles than two' by John Eames with some observations by Dr [John] Desaguliers[1737?]
CLP/12ii/55Paper, regarding the dissolving of a stone with a plant by Michael Birmingham18 May 1738
CLP/18ii/1Paper, 'An experiment in order to determine what degree of heat is required to melt some metals' by J T [John Theophilus] Desaguliers7 April 1714
CLP/18ii/2Paper, 'An experiment made before the Royal Society' by J T [John Theophilus] Desaguliers15 April 1714
CLP/18ii/4Paper, 'An experiment on steel balls made before the Royal Society' by J T [John Theophilus] Desaguliers20 May 1714
CLP/18ii/3Paper, 'An experiment made before the Royal Society' by J T [John Theophilus] Desaguliers13 May 1714
CLP/18ii/23Details of an experiment showing force of moving bodies and velocity by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/5Paper, 'An account of some experiments of the congress of bodies made before the Royal Society' by J T [John Theophilus] Desaguliers3 June 1714
CLP/18ii/5/1Paper, 'An account of some experiments of the congress of bodies made before the Royal Society' by J T [John Theophilus] Desaguliers3 June 1714
CLP/18ii/6/2Sketch, window, prism, and ribbons set up for experiment by [John Theophilus Desaguliers]24 June 1714
CLP/18ii/5/2Sketch, 'Experiments to prove the first law' by [John Theophilus Desaguliers]3 June 1714
CLP/18ii/6Paper, 'An account of some experiments of light and colours formerly made by the President and mention'd in his Optics, repeated before the Royal Society' by John Theoph [Theophilus] Desaguliers 24 June 1714
CLP/18ii/6/1Paper, 'An account of some experiments of light and colours formerly made by the President and mention'd in his Optics, repeated before the Royal Society' by John Theoph [Theophilus] Desaguliers 24 June 1714
EL/D2/73John Desaguliers to Cromwell Mortimer29 October 1733
CLP/18ii/33Account of an experiment explaining a mechanical paradox by J T Desaguliersnd
EL/M2/68Peter van Muschenbroek to J Disaguilliers20 July 1725
EL/T/81Marten Triewald, dated at Stockholm, to Desaguliers20 November 1728
AP/4/12/2Unpublished drawings, candle grenades by [Joseph Mead][1777]
EL/D2/71John Desaguliers, dated at Channel Row, to Cromwell Mortimer8 November 1735
CLP/3ii/14/2Diagram, wheels in motion by [John Theophilus Desaguliers][1721]
EL/M3/16Abstract of a letter from Petrus van Muschenbroek, dated at Urecht, to Dr J Desaguliers15 January 1733
EL/T/91Marten Triewald to John Desaguliers1 November 1732
CLP/18ii/10Concerning the descent of a body in fluid with uniform motion by J T Desaguliersnd
CLP/18ii/20Details of a machine to draw damp or foul air out of mines, wells, caves etc by J T Desaguliers21 May 1727
CLP/18ii/39Calculation of the velocity of the air moved by the newly-invented centrifugal bellows by J T Desaguliers1736
CLP/4i/84Paper, 'Attempt to solve the phenomenon of the rise of vapours, formation of clouds and descent of rain in a letter to William Rutty from J [John Theophilus] Desaguliers' by Desaguliers1728
RBO/11/101'An attempt to account for the rising and falling of the water of some Ponds near the Sea' by J Desaguliers1723
RBO/11/37'Remarks on Some attempts made towards a perpetual Motion' by John Desaguliers1721
RBO/12/2'A new Contrivance for taking Levels' by J Desaguliers1724
RBO/11/63'An account of Some Experiment made to prove that the force of moving Bodies is proportional to their Velocities' by John Desaguliers1722
CLP/7ii/4/1Manuscript, 'A dissertation concerning the figure of the Earth' by J T [John Theophilus] Desaguliers1724
CLP/7ii/5/1Manuscript, 'A dissertation concerning the figure of the Earth. Part the second' by J T [John Theophilus] Desaguliers1725
CLP/7ii/5/2Figures, geometry relating to the Earth by John Theophilus Desaguliers1725
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